College football’s steamiest rivalry heats up as Big Game nears

The Bay Area’s most intense and storied rivalry will returnthis weekend, when the Stanford Cardinal football team travels to Memorial Stadium in Berkeley to take on the Cal Bears in the 109th staging of the Big Game.

The 10th longest rivalry in Division I football, the two teams will square off in hopes of retaining the “Axe,” awarded to the victor after each meeting.

Following suit with years past, this week’s build-up to the Big Game has been marked by plenty of traditions, events and celebrations from both schools.

Stanford started the week by hosting a “Bearial” on Monday, a mock funeral for the Golden Bears’ mascot, Oski. The Stanford Band, dressed all in black, led a funeral procession through campus and read a eulogy in remembrance of their rival’s mascot, before impaling a stuffed bear on the “Claw” fountain in White Plaza.

Keeping in accordance with the school’s dislike for each other, the finished performance was greeted by a stirring round of applause from the onlookers.

Cal, not to be outdone, staged their annual Tree Chopping rally on Thursday at Sproul Hall on the Berkeley Campus, making timber out of the Cardinal’s beloved “Stanford Tree.”

San Francisco plays a big role for both schools’ bands during the week’s festivities. Members of Stanford’s band launched an impromptu performance outside the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square before the annual Guardsmen Luncheon, a joint celebration of both schools. Various renditions of the Cal band will be playing tonight at Washington Square and other North Beach locations.

“Big Game week is all about seeing old faces and having a good time,” said Steve Grealish, a 1976 Cal grad and owner of the North Star, a bar in North Beach. “There is a great atmosphere in The City for the game.

The two schools cap their week of tricks tonight on their respective campuses, with Cal hosting their annual Bonfire Party at the Greek Theater to celebrate the Big Game.

Stanford will present the final night of their stage production, “To Cal With Love” at Memorial Auditorium, a raunchy, raucous skewering of their neighbor to the north.

“Big Game week is obviously a great time for both schools,” said Tom Maravilla, Stanford’s Bay Area alumni director. “It doesn’t matter what the records of the teams are, everyone will be having a good time.”

College Sportssports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said he expected San Francisco to enter the purple tier within days.
Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner
SF still in the red but expects move into purple tier ‘some time soon’

Four more counties moved into highest COVID-19 risk category by state

Most Read